Wheelhouse Weekly – Jan. 5, 2016

January 6th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 1. . . Jan. 5, 2016


In this issue:


Upcoming Events:

News for MM&P Members:


Other News:


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Washington State Ferries (WSF) ended 2015 with an order for its fourth new 144-vehicle Olympic Class ferry. Work on the vessel, which has yet to be named, will start this month at Vigor Industrial. The licensed deck officers who sail in the Washington State fleet are members of the MM&P United Inland Group.

The newest ferry, along with the three other vessels in its class–TOKITAE, SAMISH and CHIMACUM–will replace four of Washington State’s oldest ferries, which were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

Delivery is scheduled for mid-2018. The budget to build the new vessel is $122 million. In a statement, WSF said that building the ferry translates into 500 jobs for residents of Washington State.

Olympic Class ferries are equipped with the latest emergency-evacuation and fire-suppression systems, two Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant elevators, and wider car-deck lanes that provide more room for passengers to access their vehicles. The vessels’ hull design also reduces wake and provides better fuel efficiency, while cleaner burning engines reduce emissions.

The first new vessel, TOKITAE, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, SAMISH, was put into service on the Anacortes/San Juan Island route in June 2015. The third vessel, CHIMACUM, is under construction at Vigor and will be assigned to the Seattle/ Bremerton route in early 2017.

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Members of the MM&P Atlantic Maritime Group (AMG) have approved a slate of delegates who will represent them at this year’s MM&P Convention.

“I want to thank everyone who participated in the process, both as voters and as candidates,” said MM&P Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse. “I also want to extend congratulations to the winners: their initiative in running and their willingness to be involved in the democratic process in favor of their fellow AMG members are greatly appreciated.”

Of the ballots mailed to the general membership entitled to vote, 253 ballots were returned, of which 251 were counted.

The members of the AMG Ballot Committee are: Mark Campbell, Chris Leek and John Cronin Jr. Campbell and Cronin were on hand for the ballot count at MITAGS on Jan. 4.

The following AMG members were elected to serve as Interim Convention Delegates: Richard Russo; Raymond Hennessey; Patrick Egan; Christian Tucker; Paulina Czernek; James Olsen; Jamie Ela; Kenneth O’Rourke.

The following were elected to serve, in the order listed, as Alternate Interim Convention Delegates: Terrence McGovern; Clifton Gulliksen; Kevin Metkiff; Thomas Smith; Paul Ciaburri; Angel Freire Jr.; Robert Gecek; Bruce Alexander; Michael Freeman; Keith Poissant; William Thatcher; Beau Payne.

Here’s the vote count:

118 Richard Russo

113 Raymond Hennessey

101 Patrick Egan

81 Christian Tucker

78 Paulina Czernek

74 James Olsen

72 Jamie Ela

65 Kenneth O’Rourke

59 Terrence McGovern

55 Clifton Gulliksen

53 Kevin Metkiff

52 Thomas Smith

49 Paul Ciaburri

48 Angel Freire Jr.

47 Robert Gecek

44 Bruce Alexander

44 Michael Freeman

43 Keith Poissant

37 William Thatcher

17 Beau Payne

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MM&P members Mike Schilling and Brett Bartanen were among the participants in a media event organized last month by Washington State Ferries (WSF). The event took place at the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) in Seattle. Schilling sails as a captain for Washington State Ferries and Bartanen sails as chief mate.

“Every crew member serving on a ferry has extensive training, with more stringent requirements the higher up the ranks you look,” WSF said in an official statement describing the event, which took place inside a ferry simulator at PMI.

Speakers included WSF Director of Marine Operations Greg Faust and Assistant Secretary for Ferries Lynne Griffith, who explained what it takes to become a ferry captain, illustrating the high level of experience, skill and training WSF requires of all senior officers.

The goals were to generate positive, in-depth news coverage by providing engaging visuals/details about training technology and stories of actual crew.

WSF said the event generated numerous TV stories and tweets. Among the TV coverage was a story on KCPQ on how the state of Washington needs to hire dozens of people to keep the ferries running in future and another on KIRO TV entitled “Ferry system hiring dozens of new deckhands that could lead to captain jobs.”

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will begin hearing oral arguments in a case that could make it far more difficult for working people in the United States to achieve fair pay and safe working conditions through unionization.

The plaintiffs in the case, “Friedrichs vs California Teachers Association,” are backed by the Koch brothers, a number of corporate CEOs and anti-worker groups who have created an advocacy organization called the “Center for Individual Rights.”

Here’s what the case is about.

Current law stipulates that when the majority of people in a workplace vote to form a union, the union is required to represent everyone–whether they decide to actually join the union or not.

The law also stipulates that anyone who benefits from the agreement that the union negotiates with management should contribute their fair share to the costs of negotiating and administering that agreement—even if they choose not to join the union. The contribution is known as a “fair share fee.”

The plaintiffs in the case are seeking to eliminate fair share fees.

The immediate impact of the pending case is nominally restricted to public employees like teachers, nurses, police and firefighters. Many believe that a decision in favor of the plaintiffs would virtually wipe out public sector unions in the United States.

Additionally, a win for the Koch brothers and their allies would unleash a flood of heightened attacks on workers and their unions throughout the United States.

In an increasingly global economy, companies that don’t have to negotiate with their employees over wages and working conditions will be able to drive wages and working conditions lower and lower.

“The CEO crowd already makes an average of 354 times the pay of their workers,” writes Robert Creamer, a labor organizer and author. “Unbelievably, they want to make even more.”

“Everyday Americans are way ahead of the politicians,” he writes. “By big numbers, they want their political leaders to restore rules of the economic game that will allow us to build an economy that benefits all Americans, not just the wealthy few.”

The American Federation of Teachers has launched an online petition telling the Koch Brothers and the Center for Individual Rights to stop attacking Americans’ rights to join together in unions to improve the lives of all working people. Please add your signature here:

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Long-time MM&P employer Blue & Gold Fleet, the leading provider of ferry and water excursion services on San Francisco Bay, is seeking 100-Ton Captains with ferry experience.

If you are interested in a highly rewarding job as a member of a professional, customer-oriented team at an extremely well-positioned company with a reputation for quality service and environmental stewardship, please contact MM&P United Inland Group Regional Representative Ray Shipway at 415-543-5694 or send an e-mail to

Blue & Gold Fleet provides regular ferry service to Sausalito, Tiburon and Angel Island. After being awarded the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) ferry contract in 2011, Blue & Gold Fleet began operating ferry service from Alameda/Oakland, Vallejo, Harbor Bay and South San Francisco. During baseball season, Blue & Gold Fleet provides ferry service to and from AT&T Park.

Besides regular ferry service, Blue & Gold also offers the famous one-hour Bay Cruise Adventure, 90-minute Escape from the Rock cruise and RocketBoat, the ultimate high-speed thrill ride along the city’s waterfront.

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There will be an Offshore membership meeting at the NY/NJ hall following job call onWednesday, Jan. 13. MM&P President Don Marcus, Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse and Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger will participate in the meeting.

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The California Maritime Academy (CMA), with the support of the Maritime Administration (MARAD), will host the eighth annual Women on the Water (WOW) Conference on the CMA campus in Vallejo, Calif., March 17 to 19. The conference will be held in conjunction with CMA’s Pearls of Power (POP) Conference.

The combined conferences will bring cadets at state maritime academies and Kings Point together with professional women and men who are leaders in various sectors of the maritime industry. It will provide opportunities for cadets to learn about careers in maritime and to network.

More information is available on the CMA website. Information regarding registration and attendance is also available on the MARAD website. Questions can be sent by e-mail

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With the economy in a seemingly endless free fall, the rising cost of a college education is putting working families in a bind.

If you open a new college savings account, your union may be able to help.

College savings grants are available to help you start saving for your child or your grandchild’s education. Grants of $500 are available to union members or retirees who open a new 529 tax-free college savings or pre-paid tuition account and contribute at least $1,000.

You must have opened the 529 account on or after July 1, 2009, to be eligible. Also, the age of the 529 account beneficiary must be 12 or younger.

The 529 savings plan is one of several savings programs that can help you afford a college education, which is becoming more and more important in our information-fueled economy.

The 529 plans, operated by each individual state, encourage people to save for future college costs. The Union Plus College Savings Grant underscores the importance that unions place on higher education.

The college grant is part of a $3 million initiative introduced this year by Union Plus to assist union members facing financial hardship during the current recession. The program–called Union SAFE, for Security, Assistance and Financial Education–provides a wide array of benefits for qualifying members–from financial counseling to help with hospital payments to job loss protection to help avoiding foreclosure.

For more information or an application, please visit

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Education is a career investment in that it helps to increase future earning potential. With the cost of education increasing by nearly 6 percent each year, financing that investment can be overwhelming.

But with careful planning, you’ll be well on your way to being able to afford the cost of that education for your children or grandchildren.

Start your plan now by looking into these resources.

1. As outlined in the article above, MM&P members may be able to get a $500 grant by opening a 529 college savings account.

2. Consider a state prepaid tuition account to lock in current tuition prices and avoid the effects of future inflation.

3. If you can, put away $2,000 each year in a Coverdell Education Savings Account. You can use the money, tax-free, to pay for college expenses

4. Learn what the benefits of Roth IRA plans are. As long as you only withdraw contributions and not earnings, you can pay for college expenses without having to pay income tax or an early withdrawal fee.

5. Research all available grants and scholarships, including federal Pell Grants aimed at assisting low-income families.

As a union member, you also may be eligible for special union scholarships, including the Union Plus Scholarship Program.

Visit for more information on ways to save money for higher education.

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The U.S. Coast Guard on Dec. 22 issued a warning regarding “ransomware,” a malicious software (malware) that infects a computer and restricts access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it.

The Coast Guard said it had issued the warning in response to discovering “evidence of recent ransomware activity in the maritime domain.”

The malware attempts to extort money from victims by displaying an on-screen alert. These alerts often state that a computer has been locked or that all files have been encrypted, and demand that a ransom be paid to restore access.

The ransom typically ranges from $100 to $10,000 and is sometimes demanded in virtual currency, such as Bitcoin.

The malware is typically spread through phishing e-mail with malicious attachments or “drive by downloading.” This happens when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and malware is downloaded and installed unbeknownst to the user. Crypto ransomware, a variant that encrypts files, is typically spread through similar methods, and has also been spread through Web-based instant messaging applications, the Coast Guard says.

The authors of ransomware instill fear and panic into their victims, driving them to click on a link or pay a ransom. Victims may receive messages such as:

“Your computer has been infected with a virus. Click here to resolve the issue.”

“Your computer was used to visit websites with illegal content. To unlock your computer, you must pay the $100 fine.”

“All files on your computer have been encrypted. You must pay this ransom within 96 hours to regain access to your data.”

Some variants encrypt not just the files on the infected device but also the contents of shared or network drives.

Paying the ransom does not guarantee the encrypted files will be released; it only guarantees that the malicious actors receive the victim’s money and, in some cases, their banking information. In addition, decrypting files does not mean the malware infection itself has been removed.

The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), FBI and CGCYBER recommend users and administrators take the following preventative measures:

1. Perform regular backups of all critical information to limit the impact of data or system loss and to help expedite the recovery process. Ideally, this data should be kept on a separate device and backups should be stored offline.

2. Keep anti-virus software up to date.

3. Keep operating system and software up-to-date with the latest patches.

4. Do not click on any e-mails or attachments you do not recognize and avoid suspicious websites altogether.

5. Enable pop-up blockers. Most internet browsers provide pop-up blockers. Pop-ups are regularly used by criminals to spread malicious software. To avoid accidental clicks on or
within pop-ups, it is best to prevent them from appearing in the first place.

6. If you receive a ransomware pop-up or message on your device alerting you to an infection, immediately disconnect from the internet to avoid any additional infections or data losses.

7. Follow safe practices when browsing the web.

Do not pay ransom. It will not guarantee that your files are released. Report instances of fraud to the FBI via the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

For maritime cyber safety and security questions, contact the U.S. Coast Guard Liaison Officer to the Department of Homeland Security National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) at: or (703) 235-8850.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Elisabeth Cruz, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/26/16, 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/29/16, 5/25/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/1/16, 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/29/16, 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/2/16,04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/25/16, 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16, 06/13/16,7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 1/18/16,2/15/16, 2/29/16, 3/14/16, 4/4/16, 4/11/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16,9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16, 04/18/16,05/09/16, 06/13/16, 7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/29/16, 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/16, 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16, 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/16, 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 2/8/16, 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 1/26/16, 04/19/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/7/16, 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/27/16, 3/1/16, 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 2/1/15, 3/14/16, 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/9/16, 1/31/16, 3/19/16, 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/8/16, 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –2/28/16, 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/22/16, 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 2/29/16, 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/26/16, 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 3/4/16, 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 3/5/16, 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/25/16, 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/13/16, 2/3/16, 2/10/16, 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 04/06/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/18/16, 2/1/16, 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/15/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/25/16, 3/7/16, 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/8/16, 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/22/16, 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/15/16, 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/29/16, 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

January 2016

11th Flashing Light
11-15 ECDIS
11-15 Train the Trainer
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
25-29 Radar Observer Unlimited
25-29 MEECE

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on